I know this topic has been visited a lot, but I ask for your opinions on what is a good quick-release bench vise to purchase new.
I already have a front vise that works OK, but I would like to upgrade to a proper tool that will last.
I am looking for a large vise, preferably 10″ or so wide with a large opening. I am in Chicago, in the US so I am looking at Woodcraft, Highland Woodworking, Lee Valley etc. as a supplier.
This narrows it down to:
Jorgensen 41012 Jaw Width 10″ Opening 12″
Eclipse 10″ Jaw Width 10″ Opening 14-7/8″
York (Lee Valley, Made in Czech) Jaw Width 10.5″ Opening 15″
I am inclined to think that the York vise would be the best of the lot, but then I read Paul’s comment from January of this year:
“Also, on bench vises and durability. The York vise from Czech Republic had had some issues with the quick release block fracturing and though willing to trade out the block they seem unwilling to actually correct the flaw. We had to replace several blocks two years ago, I think 8 of our 20 vises. I am afraid part time use of vises might be several years for most people and some companies rely on this. A year’s use for most woodworkers is about two weeks for me. An old, not new, Record vise should go for about 100 years of six-day-a-week use. That’s why, because of my blogging on them and proven use of them, the price keeps going up on the eBay prices. Buy em while you can. £200 is not too much to pay for a lifetime vise” https://paulsellers.com/2015/01/closing-out-on-my-bench-fitments/
This comment pretty much is at odds with the praise this vise has received over the last couple of years.
Now, I don’t live in the UK, so there are not Record vises lying around in tool sheds. Also, there are no car boot sales or the like either. To look for old tools, there is only Craigslist and Ebay, and everyone that advertises on there seems to think that their “vintage” vise is worth $100 or more. Also, I see only one Record vise on Ebay in the US. Antique stores are a total waste of time near me.
After tax and shipping, I’m looking at a payout of about $200. That is a lot of money to me so I don’t want to spend it on something that won’t last. There are no woodworking stores that have any of these on display, so any information is purely based on photos and the opinion of readers such as yourself.
So, any advise you can offer is appreciated.
I am also looking at the Record 52 1/2 or the Jorgensen 41012. For me, one of the factors is how the quick release operates.
There are a number of things I don’t like about my current vise, a Wilton Heavy-Duty 4×7 with pivoting jaw. One of them is the quick release, I find it counter intuitive. On the Wilton, it operates in such a fashion that when you spin the handle CCW it engages the quick release but doesn’t back the jaw off. If you need to make a micro adjustment, you need to reposition the jaw by pulling it out and back, then rotate the handle CW to reengage and tighten the vise down.
I’ve had the York vise you mention for about a year and a half. No problems so far, but time will tell.
The quick release on the York vise works in the same manner you discribed i.e. turn the handle counter clock wise to release the mechanism. When I first got the vise, I thought that it might be an issue, but I don’t find it a problem at all. In fact, I find my self trying to do the same with my metal working vise and am always suprised when it doesn’t work. 🙂
Anyone else want to chime in on this? Any problems with the York vise?
I went to Woodcraft today and tried the Jorgensen. It was fine. A well-made tool but I think the quick release would annoy me after a while. Just opening the vise makes the quick release engage and it won’t let the screws engage until you tighten down on the workpiece. I am used to my existing vise that just screws in and out.
They had an Eclipse that can screw in and out. The quick release is on a seperate mechanism so you use it on demand like the old Record vises. They did not have the 10″ in stock though.
So, I am leaning to the Eclipse, unless I can get someone to ship me a Record from UK.
I’m also looking for a vise and have exactly the same concerns. I’ve been considering a Milwaukee quick release vise (https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/store/dept/TL/item/MS-VISE.XX), which gets a good review from the Tools for Working Wood folks. It’s a lot to spend for a tool — and shipping is probably going to be a killer — so I want something reliable and durable. Anyone have any experience with Milwaukee vises?
Craig, check out the galleries. One of us going by “under2x” used a Milwaukee vise. Maybe you could get a recommendation. Maybe if I type @under2x I could prompt a reply.
I have been very happy and extremely satisfied with my Eclipse Vise. I picked it up at Highland Woodworking while in Atlanta. I got the 10″ model, the actual jaw width is 10-1/2″. It has a lever for the quick release and hs not given me any trouble at all in two years.
Craig, check out this thread: https://woodworkingmasterclasses.com/discussions/topic/quality-vise/ A couple of guys are discussing the Milwaukee (Morgan) vise
Hi guys. I do indeed own the Milwalke vise from toolsforworkingwood.com. The vise has actually been frustrating me somewhat of late. In fact, I was considering posting on here for some people’s opinion on how to improve the action of the vise. The issue I have is that the vise often does not engage, and I stand there spinning the handle and slamming the thing trying to get it to tighten. I just recently dismantled it and cleaned/oiled all the parts too to see if that would help and there has been no improvement. So at this point I cannot recommend this vise until i find a solution.
In addition, the wooden ends of the handle have broken off, and I had to fashon new end caps and glue them back on a few times — I wish i had a metal handle too because I’d rather be working on my creations not my fixing my vise.
Asside from those aspects though the vise has been fine lol. When it works it holds very nicely, if I can figure out why it won’t engage reliably I’ll be happy.
I also have a Morgan vise that I got about a year ago. For the most part I’m very pleased with it however I have experienced the same handle problem as Joe but not the issue with lack of engagement. I have found that if I loosen the vise slightly to re-position a workpiece and then try to re-tighten the jaws, the mechanism will jump a thread before re-engaging however I now eliminate that issue by pulling the jaws apart a few inches and then pushing them back together I re-tighten. It only takes a second. Morgan’s quick release is indeed quick, simply open the vise a turn and pull it apart. To tighten, just push the jaw in till it touches the workpiece and tighten the handle a bit.
Recently I found a used Record 52D vise at an estate sale and purchased it for $15. I don’t have room for it on my current bench but disassembled it and cleaned it for future use when I build a Paul Sellers bench. However I noted that the “quick release” mechanism to be slower and clunkier then the Morgan. I’d say the Morgans are worth a look.
I have this one from Lee Valley. It has been great so far though it does rack a bit. Not a big deal though. http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=67755&cat=1,41659
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